Mar. 25, 1998
BOSTON, MA: The National Science Board (NSB) today announced that the "renowned and standard-setting" science television series NOVA, which airs on PBS, and noted primatologist Jane Goodall are the recipients of its first annual Public Service Award for contributions to public understanding of science and engineering. "There are many awards in the scientific community, but this will be special because the people and institutions to receive this award reach the hearts and minds of everyday Americans by imparting knowledge, understanding and a sense of humanity in their work," Richard Zare, NSB chairman said. The new award for public service will be presented at an annual NSB awards dinner in May at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Through the years NOVA has received every top broadcasting honor, but Executive Producer Paula Apsell says this one means the most to her and the NOVA team. “To have the premier science institution in the country commend us for our work as we get ready to launch our 25th season is a terrific validation of the quality of our programs,” says Apsell. "NOVA producers work very hard to search for science wherever it is happening in the world today, and report on those stories in a way that is both intelligent and involves viewers in the process of how science happens." "Jane Goodall is a foremost primatologist who has heightened our sensitivities to the dignity of other species and helped us better understand our own place on the world," Zare said. "She serves as an inspiration to all of us who seek to understand nature, and as a role model for young women choosing a career in science." David Pearlman, chairman of the selection committee for this year's award, cited Goodall's contributions well beyond her research, including "her lifetime of work communicating the results of her research to the broadest possible public(s)," and Goodall's "international network of institutions to encourage the participation of youngsters and adults in the scientific enterprise." Zare called PBS' NOVA series, on the eve of its 25th season and now nearing 500 programs, "a bright beacon lighting our way to understanding science and technology. NOVA set the standard for providing us insights into how science is done and what drives those who do it." Pearlman added his congratulations to NOVA, saying, "it has become an American institution, regularly enthralling its huge PBS audience with clear, accurate and wide-ranging programs exploring virtually every aspect of science." Pearlman also praised NOVA for being a major influence on commercial broadcast and cable channels to present science programs of similar quality. "It is so important that Americans increase their awareness of science and technology and to appreciate the crucial role fundamental and applied research plays in all our lives, so it is significant that the National Science Board has created this annual award," Pearlman said. Now in its 24th season, NOVA is produced for PBS by the WGBH Science Unit. Paula S. Apsell is the director of the WGBH Science Unit and executive producer of NOVA. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the Park Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Life, and Iomega Corporation. The NSB Public Service Award was established in November, 1996. Two awards will be presented each May, one to an individual, another to an organization. The award will recognize not only the scientific and engineering contributions of individuals and organizations, but also activities to promote the general public's understanding of the research and concepts that lead the way to discovery.
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